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Squatters terrorizing valley neighborhood

Posted at 6:15 AM, Oct 01, 2015
and last updated 2018-11-21 17:46:26-05

A new law now in effect will provide swifter remedies to victims of rental scams and squatters. That's great news to families who told Action News unwelcome guests are terrorizing their neighborhood.  

"We've been just trying to do whatever we can to get these people out peacefully," said Yvette West, "but it's been a struggle."

People living in the area said the squatters moved into a home near Fort Apache and Mountains Edge about two months ago.

"I would see them in and out, revving up their engine, making lots of noise," said new mom Joelyn Wright.  

Kathryn Spernak agreed the squatters are a threat.  

"It's kind of put everyone in a little bit of fear," said Spernak.  

Neighbors said they've called police but were always told it's a civil issue.  But that all changed late Wednesday night when West said cops gave her good news.

"As of tomorrow there's a new squatter's law which allows them to turn off the power," said West.

Legal experts said the new law allows owners to retake possession of their property as soon as a squatter arrest is made -- instead of waiting for the conclusion of a lengthy eviction proceeding.  

"The owner posts a notice on the door for 21 days," said Lauren Pena, Directing Attorney at the Civil Law Self-Help Center, "it basically says I've retaken this property I've changed the locks and if you want to get back in you have to file a complaint at the court house."  

Pena said the new law also helps those who are the victim of a rental scam.  

"This new law is going to give them the option of asking the court for an extra 20 days to stay on the property," said Pena.  

In the past, some victims were evicted without notice.

"Basically locked out and their personal property is in the house," said Pena.


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